WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) welcomes the U.S. Air Force’s approval of Albuquerque’s Kirtland Air Force Base as the designated location to host a new training mission for the AC-130J aircraft.
“Throughout my tenure in Congress, I have been pushing to bring more missions to New Mexico. Today, I am very pleased to welcome one of these new missions. The AC-130J Formal Training Unit will prepare pilots and aircraft crew to operate the AC-130J platform in some of the most challenging environments in the world. This mission will support up to 386 full-time Air Force personnel, with additional contract and maintenance support,” said Heinrich. “Our unrivaled airspace, premier testing ranges, and on-ground expertise continue to make New Mexico an ideal location for training new aircraft units.”
This announcement follows many years of advocacy by Senator Heinrich, formerly as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, then the Senate Armed Services Committee, and most recently as Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies.
As Chairman, Heinrich secured language in the Omnibus Appropriations Agreement for Fiscal Year 2022 supporting efforts to stand up the AC-130J Formal Training Unit at Kirtland Air Force Base. The provision directed the Secretary of the Air Force to provide a report no later than 90 days after enactment of the law outlining the timeline for developing facilities requirements and to prioritize the beddown infrastructure needed for the AC-130J FTU within its military construction program.
The AC-130J Formal Training Unit is expected to include six primary aircraft and one additional maintenance aircraft.